After buying a car riddled with mechanical problems I found myself cycling to work for the first time yesterday, and I couldn’t have had more things go wrong for me in such a short space of time. My misfortune actually started at the point I purchased the car, but I’ll fast forward to last night’s unforgettable commute to my workplace; and I would love to read some of your calamities in the comments as a result of sharing my experience.
I currently work night shifts for a local business approximately 5 miles from where I live, and due to recently trading in a reliable car for something less reliable (which is an unusual thing to do, and about to empty my wallet), I felt climbing on my bicycle for the first time in a couple of years would be a refreshing alternative to rattling my way to the office in an overheating, 11 year old tank. So I packed everything I needed in to my bag, including shower gel and a change of clothes to freshen up once I’d reached the office, then left my home with plenty of time and feeling comfortable I’d not be rushed if the worst happened.
As I set off, bearing in mind I’ve been a little lazy with exercise recently, I cycled up a long and gradual incline in the cycle lane by the side of a local dual carriageway. It definitely wasn’t a steep incline, but it seemed to go on forever, and I didn’t appear to be moving very fast either. In fact, if I went any slower I’d have rolled back into my shed! Once that part of the journey was over, and I was on more level ground, it seemed to get more enjoyable. I was loving the feeling of the wind blowing through my thinning, shaved locks (which wasn’t getting in my eyes, by the way) and casually enjoyed the scenery as the passing cars and buses generously spewed exhaust fumes in my face.
I continued to coast along with my mind wandering from subject to subject, until it got snagged on the subject of whether I packed everything I needed in to my bag, which was strapped to the back of my bike like a baby panda clinging for it’s life.
“I’ve got my shower gel, I’ve got my shampoo, and I’ve packed clean undies. I’m sorted!”
Then it dawned on me. I had no towel.
“There’s no way I’m going to stand and ‘drip-dry’,” I thought to myself.
I was almost halfway when I realised I was missing that vital towel and I wasn’t turning back (not after that ‘gradual incline’ that almost had me spiralling into cardiac arrest), so I called into a Sainsbury’s Local store I was passing, thinking they would sell towels. But no! They just told me I’d need to head to a larger Sainsbury’s, which was 2 miles BEYOND my workplace, or I could head into town. Typical!
After a giving it some thought, I decided to put my gladiator head on and prepared myself to cycle an extra 4 miles, and make it back in time for work to get myself that much needed towel. It was like ‘The Quest for the Holy Grail’, I pedalled like Rocky Balboa trained for Apollo Creed and sped along like ‘greased lightning’. Either that or I came across another ‘gradual incline’, probably the latter. But, I did reach the larger Sainsbury’s store, though, and picked up the towel I’m making such a big deal of.
I selected the towel of my choice very carefully based on elegant design and value for money. A plain white, Sainsbury’s Basics towel costing £3. As I approached the self-service checkout with my prize, for cycling further than planned, I placed the item on the scanner, then realised a towel wasn’t the only thing I’d forgot. I also forgot my wallet!
Begging the staff to allow me to take the towel and pay for it the next day wasn’t a successful plan.
I even explained how I’d cycled 2 miles out of the way to get the damn thing!
So, back on the bike for another 2 miles, heading in the opposite direction, to the place I had just passed half an hour beforehand, and knowing I’d be cycling that distance for absolutely no purpose whatsoever. I reached my workplace with half an hour to spare, before my shift was due to start, and accepted I was having to settle for a change of clothes, spray of deodorant and a wash at the sink, before then ‘festering for the night’.
Once I had changed, washed, and sprayed, I made my way in to the office; and as I stood with my hands deep inside in my pockets, chatting to my colleagues about what had happened on my journey to work, I pulled out a ten pound note (which could have paid for that damn towel).
What a plonker!!!
Anyway, in the end… I borrowed a towel!